In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Texas Association for Literacy Education to establish the Jack Cassidy Scholarship Fund for graduate students in Reading or Literacy Education.
On behalf of his family and friends, we write this announcement today to notify the TALE community about the passing of Dr. Jack Cassidy on May 22, 2021. In 2012, Dr. Jack Cassidy founded TALE at the Literacy Summit, hosted by the Specialized Literacy Professionals Special Interest Group (IRA) in San Antonio. He also served as the first president of TALE (2011-2012) and helped establish TALE’s mission to “promote literacy that will enhance the lives of all Texas citizens personally, socially, and economically.” Since its inception, TALE has grown to over 500 members, an accomplishment that would not have been possible without Dr. Cassidy. TALE honors Dr. Cassidy’s hard work and dedication through an annual award, named in his honor. The Jack Cassidy Distinguished Service Award is designed to recognize individuals who support literacy education in the state of Texas.
First serving as a teacher, reading specialist, and reading supervisor in PA, HI, and DE, Dr. Cassidy began teaching at Millersville University. After 20 years there he retired and began teaching at Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi where he eventually became Associate Deanretiring in 2011. He was granted Emeritus status at both institutions. Jack was the author of many textbooks and professional articles. For over 20 years, he conducted an often cited yearly study, “What’s Hot in Literacy.” Additionally, as a member of the Reading Hall of Fame, former President of the International Reading Association (youngest of all time), co-founder to the Specialized Literacy Professionals SIG, Jack’s fingerprints can be found everywhere in the field of literacy education.
In his later years, he made concerted efforts to shift his focus from academia to his family including his grandchildren. He had confidence that others, such as ourselves, would continue his line of inquiry navigating research that matters; instruction poised to make a difference; and outreach efforts situated in diverse communities of promise. His legacy remains far beyond hot topics in literacy. His mentorship and selfless creation of opportunities for others serves as a foundation for all of us to strive.